Thomas Scott Turnbull

Last updated

Thomas Scott Turnbull (28 October 1825 – 22 March 1880) was the son of a Newcastle saddler. He went on to open one of the largest drapery houses in Northeast England, was a founder member of a daily provincial newspaper and served as Mayor of Sunderland.

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, commonly known as Newcastle, is a city in Tyne and Wear, North East England, 103 miles (166 km) south of Edinburgh and 277 miles (446 km) north of London on the northern bank of the River Tyne, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, and forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the UK Core Cities Group and is a member of the Eurocities network of European cities.

Saddle supportive structure for a rider or other load, fastened to an animals back by a girth

The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider or other load, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is the equestrian saddle designed for a horse. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other creatures. It is not known precisely when riders first began to use some sort of padding or protection, but a blanket attached by some form of surcingle or girth was probably the first "saddle", followed later by more elaborate padded designs. The solid saddle tree was a later invention, and though early stirrup designs predated the invention of the solid tree. The paired stirrup, which attached to the tree, was the last element of the saddle to reach the basic form that is still used today. Today, modern saddles come in a wide variety of styles, each designed for a specific equestrianism discipline, and require careful fit to both the rider and the horse. Proper saddle care can extend the useful life of a saddle, often for decades. The saddle was a crucial step in the increased use of domesticated animals, during the Classical Era.

Drapery depiction of the folds and woven patterns of loose-hanging clothing on the human form

Drapery is a general word referring to cloths or textiles. It may refer to cloth used for decorative purposes – such as around windows – or to the trade of retailing cloth, originally mostly for clothing, formerly conducted by drapers.


Early life

Thomas Scott Turnbull, the son of saddler John Turnbull, was born in Newcastle on October 28, 1825. After being educated at St Mary's School, Newcastle, he went to work for "Dunn and Bainbridge" - then the largest drapery firm in Newcastle. Turnbull soon rose to a "high position", later gaining further experience of the trade by working in several large commercial houses in London, before moving to Sunderland in 1850 and starting his own business. [1]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Business life

Turnbull was extremely forward-thinking, introducing a system of "small profits and quick returns" at a time when established drapers gave long credit. From humble beginnings, he built up his Sunderland-based business "Albion House" into one of the largest drapery houses in Northern England. At his death, it occupied 122-126 High Street West, Sunderland, and the premises included sleeping and dining accommodation for 160 assistants, plus a library of nearly 2,500 volumes for their use. A second, smaller, Albion House drapery was also operated in Silver Street, Durham. [2] [3] [4]

Library organized collection of resources

A library is a collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical building or room, or a virtual space, or both. A library's collection can include books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, maps, prints, documents, microform, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audiobooks, databases, and other formats. Libraries range in size from a few shelves of books to several million items. In Latin and Greek, the idea of a bookcase is represented by Bibliotheca and Bibliothēkē : derivatives of these mean library in many modern languages, e.g. French bibliothèque.

Durham, England City in England

Durham is a historic city and the county town of County Durham in North East England. The city lies on the River Wear, to the west of Sunderland, south of Newcastle upon Tyne and to the north of Darlington. Founded over the final resting place of St Cuthbert, its Norman cathedral became a centre of pilgrimage in medieval England. The cathedral and adjacent 11th-century castle were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832. HM Prison Durham is also located close to the city centre. City of Durham is the name of the civil parish.

Political life

Politically, Turnbull was a Liberal. He was elected to Sunderland Town Council, representing Bridge Ward, in 1866, but retired three years later rather than standing for re-election on account of his business commitments. [5]

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

It was Turnbull's interest in politics which led to his friendship, and future business partnership, with Samuel Storey. Storey, a former teacher and future MP for Sunderland, was aware of a gap in the market for a local daily newspaper, and was also keen to find a method of publicising his Radical points of view. Storey and Turnbull were two of the original seven founders of the Sunderland Echo in 1873. Each of the seven invested £500 towards the project and the paper is still published today. [6] [7] [8]

Samuel Storey (1841–1925) was a British politician born in County Durham. He became a Member of Parliament for Sunderland and the main founder of the Sunderland Echo newspaper.

Teacher person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values

A teacher is a person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values.

The term political radicalism denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary or other means and changing value systems in fundamental ways.

Turnbull returned to politics following a seven-year break, after taking his son, Edward, into partnership. He was elected to the council in 1876, this time for Bishopwearmouth Ward, and became Mayor of Sunderland in November 1880. He died of typhoid fever, however, in March of the following year and was succeeded as Mayor by Samuel Storey. [9]

Bishopwearmouth human settlement in United Kingdom

Bishopwearmouth is an area in Sunderland, North East England. Bishopwearmouth was one of the original three settlements on the banks of the river Wear that merged to form modern Sunderland. The settlement was formed in 930 when Athelstan of England granted the lands to the Bishop of Durham. The settlement on the opposite side of the river, Monkwearmouth, had been founded 250 years earlier. The lands on the south-side of the river became known as Bishopwearmouth, a parish that covered around twenty square miles, encompassing settlements such as Ryhope and Silksworth — now part of the modern Sunderland urban area. Within the parish was another settlement, Sunderland, which was a small fishing port at the mouth of the river. Over the centuries, the port grew in both importance and size, and in 1719 was made into a parish independent from Bishopwearmouth.

Typhoid fever A bacterial infectious disorder contracted by consumption of food or drink contaminated with Salmonella typhi. This disorder is common in developing countries and can be treated with antibiotics.

Typhoid fever, also known simply as typhoid, is a bacterial infection due to Salmonella typhi that causes symptoms. Symptoms may vary from mild to severe and usually begin six to thirty days after exposure. Often there is a gradual onset of a high fever over several days; weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, and mild vomiting also commonly occur. Some people develop a skin rash with rose colored spots. In severe cases there may be confusion. Without treatment, symptoms may last weeks or months. Diarrhea is uncommon. Other people may carry the bacterium without being affected; however, they are still able to spread the disease to others. Typhoid fever is a type of enteric fever, along with paratyphoid fever.

Private life

The Turnbull mausoleum, Bishopwearmouth Cemetery. Turnbull mausoleum, Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.jpg
The Turnbull mausoleum, Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.

Turnbull was a member of the Established Church and warden of St Mark's Church, Sunderland. He was survived by a widow, four sons and three daughters. He was laid to rest in the Turnbull family mausoleum at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery. [10] [11]

His son, Thomas Strover Turnbull, became the youngest winner of the boat race in 1873 with Cambridge, at the age of 18 years and 12 days, a record that stands to this day. [12]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Samuel Sinclair Robson
Mayor of Sunderland
Succeeded by
Samuel Storey

Related Research Articles

Sunderland city in Tyne and Wear, North East England

Sunderland is a city at the centre of the City of Sunderland metropolitan borough, in Tyne and Wear, England, 10 miles southeast of Newcastle upon Tyne and 12 miles northeast of Durham at the mouth of the River Wear.

Sunderland Albion Football Club was an English association football club based in Sunderland, England formed in 1888 as a rival to Sunderland A.F.C.

<i>The News</i> (Portsmouth) newspaper in Portsmouth, England

The News is the only local paid-for newspaper in Portsmouth, England, and covers a wide area of south Hampshire. It is produced by Johnston Press, owners of Portsmouth Publishing & Printing at their headquarters in North Harbour, Portsmouth, and printed in nearby Hilsea. Its official title is The News, though it was formerly known as The Portsmouth Evening News still popularly referred to as the Evening News despite being printed in the early hours of the morning.

<i>Sunderland Echo</i> newspaper serving the areas of Sunderland and East Durham

The Sunderland Echo is a daily newspaper serving the Sunderland, South Tyneside and East Durham areas of North East England. The newspaper was founded by Samuel Storey, Edward Backhouse, Edward Temperley Gourley, Charles Palmer, Richard Ruddock, Thomas Glaholm and Thomas Scott Turnbull in 1873, as the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette. Designed to provide a platform for the Radical views held by Storey and his partners, it was also Sunderland's first local daily paper.

Sir John Mowbray, 1st Baronet British politician

Sir John Robert Mowbray, 1st Baronet PC, known as John Cornish until 1847, was a British Conservative politician and long-serving Member of Parliament, eventually serving as Father of the House.

Thomas Glaholm (1834-1888) was the son of a Newcastle steam flour miller. He went on to open a successful rope manufacturing plant in Sunderland and was a founder member of a daily provincial newspaper, the Sunderland Echo.

Lancelot Nixon Richard Ruddock (1837-1908) - known as Richard Ruddock - was a reporter, newspaper editor and a founder of the Sunderland Echo in the 19th century.

Sir Edward Temperley Gourley was a coal fitter, shipowner and politician born in Sunderland, England. He was knighted for his political work.

Theodore Doxford British politician

Sir William Theodore Doxford was a British shipbuilder and politician.

Bishopwearmouth Cemetery

Bishopwearmouth Cemetery is a cemetery in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England. It lies between Hylton Road and Chester Road.

Stephen David Conway SCP is a British Anglican bishop. Since December 2010, he has been the Bishop of Ely. From 2006 to 2010, he was the Bishop of Ramsbury, an area bishop and then suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Salisbury.

James Allan was a Scottish schoolmaster and footballer. He was the founder of Sunderland A.F.C., whom he also played for as a forward. He also founded Sunderland Albion F.C. and taught in several Sunderland based schools.

Olga and Betty Turnbull were child entertainers in the 1930s. Born in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, they performed in provincial theatres across England and Scotland as the Turnbull Sisters in the mid-1930s. On 1 December 1936 they gave a special performance for the King and Queen. By May 1937 they had completed two tours of every principal town in England and Scotland and had been contracted for a third.

Thomas Charles Thompson was an English Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons briefly in 1874 and from 1880 to 1885.

H Binns, Son & Co. was a chain of department stores based in Sunderland, later purchased and absorbed into House of Fraser.

George Hamilton (priest) Archdeacon of Lindisfarne

George Hans Hamilton was Archdeacon of Lindisfarne from 1865 until 1882, when he became Archdeacon of Northumberland. He was also a Canon of Durham.

George Edward Turnbull was an English footballer who played as a centre forward or inside left in the Football League for Rochdale and Darlington.

Joseph Ray Hodgson Lifesaver

Joseph Ray Hodgson was an Englishman hailed as a hero dozens of times after risking his life to save people from drowning, often during a winter storm in the North Sea. He was nicknamed The Stormy Petrel, after the seabirds, because whenever a gale blew up, he could be seen on Sunderland pier searching the skyline for ships in distress in order that he might help. Hodgson was living and working in Sunderland at the same time as the diver, Harry Watts, who was equally famed for saving lives. Hodgson is commemorated in the album titled Stormy Petrel by Sunderland punk band Leatherface.

John Storey Barwick English industrialist involved within quarries, coal-mining, shipping and shipbuilding

John Storey Barwick, 1st Baronet of Ashbrooke Grange, J.P., (1840–1915), was an English industrialist involved within quarries, coal-mining, shipping and shipbuilding concerns. He was founder of Easington Colliery in 1899 then known as The Easington Coal Company Limited a privately owned company of which he was Chairman. Barwick was made first baronet of Ashbrooke Grange in 1912.


  1. Sunderland Daily Echo, March 23, 1880
  2. Durham County Council website (2007). "Durham business". Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  3. Sunderland Weekly Times, March 26, 1880
  4. Sunderland Times, September 22, 1868
  5. Sunderland Times, September 22, 1868
  6. Sunderland Daily Echo, March 23, 1880
  7. Wearsideonline website (2007). "Sunderland Echo". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  8. Memberscox website (2007). "Founding member". Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  9. Sunderland Weekly Times, March 26, 1880
  10. Sunderland Daily Echo, March 23, 1880
  11. Sunderland Daily Post, April 27, 1881
  12. Boat Race website (2011). "Boat Race: Facts & Figures". Archived from the original on 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2011-06-10.

Further reading